The decision, to be implemented through the Unique identification authority of India (UIDAI), would also bring down the burden on government finances to subsidise cooking fuel as the project would help in delivering subsidised fuel only to the poor.
According to the petroleum ministrys agreement with UIDAI, signed here on Friday in the presence of the authoritys chairman Nandan Nilekani and petroleum minister Murli Deora, fuel retailers IOC, HPCL and BPCL would try a biometric identification of consumers initially in Hyderabad, Mysore, Tumkur and Pune. Based on the outcome of the pilot studies, a nation-wide rollout would be undertaken in a phased manner, a ministry statement said.
Minister of state for petroleum Jitin Prasad said the project would be rolled out in two months in these cities. Prasad, however, did not risk a guess on when biometric cards would be in use throughout the country for cooking fuel sales.
The move will help in accurately identifying users and beneficiaries of the services rendered by the three oil firms, government officials said. Currently, there are more than 11.5 crore LPG customers in the country and it is expected that by the year 2015, there would be 16 crore LPG customers. The government is now in the process of popularising the use of LPG in rural areas under a scheme named after the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
This partnership is something we are looking forward to, which will help in de-duplication and authentication, Nilekani said, adding that the focus would be on poor families and village communities. The agreement was signed by Apurva Chandra, joint secretary in the petroleum ministry and K Ganga, deputy director general of UIDAI.